Welcome to the third week of our practice-a-long! I love the enthusiasm and spirit of last week. We are expanding to incorporate a great variety of experience and skill, which is making this really fun for me. Clearly I need lots and lots of practice, but I am so thankful that there are many of you reading/playing along who are willing to contribute suggestions and helpful hints. Thank you!
To remind you, this week we were trying to stitch something resembling this Slate Tile pattern from the Free Motion Quilting Project.
Let me summarize my post-stitching conversation with my other half to give you a flavor of this week's FMQ experience:
me: See! I get better each time I try?
him (giggling): You're all over the place!
me: But I get better, right?
him: The girls will have a good laugh this week :)
And he's right. Here we go.
I made three attempts this week. I tried Slate Tiles the first time with my motorcycle gloves, sans booze, humming a lullaby (calming) and created this:
The good thing is this pattern doesn't require me to "see" behind my needle. I still struggle with that. This I could stitch like I read a book, upper left to lower right. Comforting. I was trying to focus on thread tension and the balance between my moving the sandwich and needle speed to get pert stitches. I kept my feed dogs up as many of you suggested I should. The result is the lines are very shaky because I was pushing faster or slower to see the effect on stitch length. It was a good experiment. The problem was that with the feed dogs up, I got a pulling/jerking of the needle on its way up that would yank the sandwich all over the place.
So, back to the old tried and true. "Normal" tension, feed dogs down and motorcycle gloves. (OK: this week I really need to get those gardening gloves. The biker gloves are not really doing the job.) And I kind of like it! The stitches are still slightly shaky because my machine bed is uneven and some times I yank the fabric as I go over a bump. Still, I'm getting a little better (or so I tell myself).
Feeling confident, I thought I'd try to tackle my old nemesis The Wave. How quickly my bubble burst! I still can not stitch a curve to save my life. I have troubles moving the fabric toward me, which makes sense as I am more used to moving it away from me when piecing. Let's call it The Ripple. Maybe if I try this again exaggerating the curve it would be better? I will keep trying.
The good news is I don't have birds nests on the back side and I have found my favorite tension/feed dog combo. It's only up from here, my friends!
Thank you all for your suggestions of patterns you'd like to try. I have a little list going, so Mr Random and I will choose one from your suggestions each week. This week, we're going to give Bright Star a try. Here is the photo from the Free Motion Quilting Project to guide us:
Leah, helpful as ever, has given us this tutorial by video:
Good luck! Join in the linky below and see what others were up to this week. Spread the encouragement and tips, please! It's the only way we will learn. If you need a reminder on the spirit of Free Motion Friday, please read the original post again.
(PS - Anyone else running linky parties through inlinkz.com? I can't seem to allow photos to appear any more...and they were super fun! Can you? Or are you text only too?)
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